Writing is not hard.  What is hard, and what trips most people up when they are writing, is organization.  When you want to write clearly, it is important to have a clear idea of what you are going to say.  Before you begin, think about your idea.  You can think about it with a pen and paper or a word processor, if that helps you to work better.  Make a list, jot down words that you could use, outline your article.  You are about to present your idea to the world — give it a fighting chance by working through your argument. Think about the timeline of the piece and how it should flow.

For example, if your subject is a person and you want to write about their life, say a profile for a website or magazine or some such, you may have a questionnaire they have filled out.  Put the pertinent information in the same document where you are going to write, and check off the important points as you accomplish them.  Keeping track of what you need to cover will help you stay on track if you veer off onto a side issue.

You can also refer back to the list after your first draft, to see whether you have gone too far in any direction, and need to prune your piece.  Perhaps that extra paragraph is the seed for next week!  GoogleDocs is my favorite place to write, because of the complete accessibility from any location and the easy cut and paste and save if I need to put an idea somewhere else.  Also, I appreciate the auto-save.  Can’t tell you how many times I’ve nearly lost several hours worth of work …

If you’re not in a place where you can write, but you have a great idea, put it on paper or save it in an email to yourself, just a basic sentence and perhaps one or two theme words.  You can continue to think about it as you go about your business; I often find that percolation is the best possible thing for an idea that needs to be fleshed out.

This entry was posted on Monday, October 20th, 2008 at 2:53 pm and is filed under Blog, Technicalities. You can leave a comment and follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

6 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Ardy Pratama said:

    Oct. 22, 2008

    nice tips… thanks for share :)

  2. Mom said:

    Oct. 24, 2008

    Hello, girlie!

    Good essay. How did you learn to write so well? Were you paying attention when I didn’t know?

    So, maybe you should write about something in your life (leaving out names, of course) as an example of how simple, real life experiences can make good stories? I can suggest things, if you like…


  3. John said:

    Oct. 29, 2008

    Love this! thanks so much. keep writing!

  4. James Helms said:

    Oct. 31, 2008

    You’re right, it’s good to have an objective when you write. I like to have seven or eight objectives and let them fight it out on the page…then again I’ve never been a great writer. (Actually I’ve never said that “I’m a writer”…even though I occasionally write)

    You write really well. I would be interested to hear what you have to say about different styles of writing and where individual writing styles are best used. Nice meeting you.

  5. Michael A. Carabini said:

    Apr. 24, 2011

    Writing an autobiography is an ideal way to capture the stories of your life and the times you ve lived in and unless youre an autobiography or memoirs may be the only way those stories get preserved intact. If you are famous an autobiography may be the only way to tell your side of the story and defend your legacy against those infamous unauthorized biographies. Regardless of your situation theres no time like the present to start writing about your past.

  6. Christina Carabini said:

    May. 28, 2011

    If youre aggravated by mess then prewriting can be thought of as pre-planning as a means of generating the ideas and data that will help you create the essay draft. Either way prewriting is a stage of idea incubation a way to generate ideas and capture your thoughts through writing.

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